AdWords for disaster relief

Tuesday, September 30, 2008 | 10:22 AM

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In recent posts we've called attention to Grants recipients providing relief during times of crisis around the world. Our goal for these posts is to bring awareness to organizations uniquely suited to provide support when disaster strikes and give you a place to find information and ways to help.

We'd also like to offer optimization help to those of you whose organizations are seeing an increase in traffic from disasters. Rather than waiting for one to strike, we thought we'd share some tips with you now so you can prepare for future events:

  1. Ready your accounts
    Create a specific campaign for disasters and a specific ad group for the crisis at hand. If your organization provides relief for disasters, create a campaign within your account specifically for disasters. And when you respond to a disaster, create an ad group within your disaster campaign for the current disaster. This kind of organization will make it easier to manage your keywords, ad texts and budgets to best handle the traffic and disseminate information to those in need.

  2. Prioritize your budget
    Allot the majority of your budget to your disaster campaign when disasters occur. When the majority of your traffic is focused on your disaster relief efforts, shift your account budget to focus mainly on that campaign. You can then pause previous disaster ad groups in the campaign and activate the current disaster ad group to support the increased traffic with the most relevant information. If the rest of your account is drawing too much traffic away from your disaster relief campaign, you can also pause these ad groups/campaigns to give your disaster campaign more traffic.

  3. Build a targeted keyword list
    Create a very precise keyword list for your crisis ad group. You'll want a list that's specific to the disaster at hand and to the support you're providing. Use geo-targeting or geographical terms if relevant, such as "Hurricane Gustav shelters in Houston." Avoid general terms such as "hurricane", "tropical storm" and "disaster," as they won't be as effective as more narrowly targeted terms.

  4. Send users right to the source
    If you're asking for donations or volunteers in your ad text, be sure to link your ads directly to the landing pages where these options are given. Put as few clicks as possible between the user and the information they are seeking.

While we hope you won't have to use them, these tips may help you prepare for possible crises so that you can spend your time helping those in need. To discuss these strategies further, visit our Help Group, and start a discussion about best practices for managing increases in traffic.